Thursday, March 29, 2012

Class Pet

My class got a class pet today. Actually, it's more like thousands of pets.

And next week we're going to eat a portion of their dead bodies.

What could our pets be and what do they have to do with cooking (besides that we'll end up eating their carcasses)? Have you figured it out yet? Did you know all along?

Barb brought in some sourdough starter today and we're going to mix it and feed it and I'm even going to bring it home with me over the weekend. Seriously. It needs to be stirred daily, and fed on a schedule. Taking care of sourdough starter is as much of a commitment as having a pet snake.

I have never kept a starter before; I've never even tried. But after school today I spent half an hour surfing the web looking for advice about how to bake bread in a dutch oven or in a pot on a stove top. I want to simulate what bread baking would have been like for the pioneers. It is likely that I won't have time to test out the recipe or the cooking technique at home before we try it in class, so next Wednesday might be...interesting.

I'm getting very good at modeling making mistakes in front of my students.

You might be thinking that to be truly authentic, we'd be making a campfire somewhere on the edge of school property. I am perfectly comfortable with fire building and cooking over a fire, having done so for years and years as a camp counselor. But I thought about trying to keep sixteen energetic bodies out of the fire while simultaneously making sure the bread didn't burn. It didn't seem like a wise venture. Not to mention the conversation I'd have to have with my principal and the facilities manager. They are both very reasonable men, but open fire on school grounds would probably be pushing the limits.

So instead I'll be using a huge cast iron pot my husband has been keeping in the basement because...I really have no idea why, but it's been down there for ages.

And afterward, I'll have a couple of thousands of pets to give away to anyone who wants it. Sourdough starter needs to be fed and cared for, but also used periodically to keep its population in check. The more I think about it, having sourdough starter is some kind of a wacky cross between a pyramid scheme and a chain letter.

1 comment:

  1. Great writing, Liz. Sounds fun! in more ways than one!